Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Odd Squad

Odd Squad

Spring 2016 Television
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Rating: TV G
Review:

The old Superhero versus Villain formula receives a highly amusing new treatment in The Odd Squad, a half -hour live action children's program that airs on PBS. It premiered in November 2014 and it's a co-production of The Fred Rogers Company and Sinking Ship Entertainment.

With its clever satire and tongue-in-cheek tribute to the delightful archetypes and stereotypes that dominate the superhero genre, this program will hold great appeal to elementary and 'tween-aged viewers as well as parents who grew up consuming traditional superhero shows and comics will appreciate the amusing references, too.

Most episodes offer two separate stories, following the escapades of government agents Olive and Otto as they tackle their town's frequent odd occurrences. While the scenarios are highly whimsical, the solutions are rooted in real-world STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, and math), and these young teens use logic, reasoning, and math strategies to take down the bad guys.

In "O vs. The Ballcano," a villain manipulates a ball pit to overflow (rhyme "ballcano" with "volcano" and you'll get a picture of the problem) and it takes a careful study of measurements, using particular types of scales and weights, to put a stop to the chaos. In "Assistants' Creed," it takes some crafty calculations to tame a teddy bear tornado . . . but the task is up to a couple of over-eager Odd Squad trainees who sneaked on a mission without permission and their efforts set off an unexpected chain of events. Other storylines explore concepts rooted in geometry, algebra, data collection and analysis, weights and measures, and numbers and operations.

In addition to the fine acting and exceptional production value, the special effects are spectacular and judiciously used, supporting the storylines rather than overshadowing them. Interstitial sequences include more illustrations of the STEM concept from each story, blending visuals that are as witty as they are brainy. Nice work!

Gina Catanzarite   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

Look for this product at:
The Fred Rogers Company
http://www.fci.org

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